Eric Shay Howard

Bad blogger. Complicated. Gay.


Read the blog, below. Eric blogs about creative writing, business, education, lgbtq+ AND DIVERSITY, and many other topics. he’s a little bit complicated. he blogs in first-person.

the blog ⬇️

  • My Thoughts On Twitter

    My Thoughts On Twitter

    These Are My Thoughts On Twitter

    For a few weeks, I’ve been sitting in the back row, watching my Twitter timeline and the blogs that blog about it. I don’t want to say anything about it. Businesses change hands all the time. Usually, it happens behind closed doors, or as less of a spectacle anyway. Not all of these leadership changes are good, and not all of them are done well. There are often issues with office culture and new leadership not seeing eye-to-eye at first, or even forever. But, Human Resources does their thing, both internally and externally, Marketing does their thing, both publicly and privately, and executive leadership does their thing, and all hopefully in accordance with the companies “new” agreed-upon values and mission statement, which sometimes takes a few months to develop. So, I’ve not been worried, really. Just sort of watching and taking notes. But, it’s reached a point to where people in my personal life are starting to question why I haven’t closed my Twitter account yet. And the answer is, I think about it sometimes. I’ve thought about it before Musk acquired Twitter. And, yes, I’m thinking about it more now due to the spectacle that is before us all. But I haven’t yet because I’m falling back on what I know, or what I think I know, which is probably not as much as I think I do. But basically, it’s what I said before: businesses change hands all the time. And these problems, these Human Resources issues and leadership issues that are very problematic and definitely need to be addressed by the company’s leadership (and they will address them in time or the company will likely fail as it is supposedly hasn’t been growing as fast as other platforms for a very long time, if what analysts have said in previous ythese problems happen all the time in private companies and even publicly traded companies, but the nature of the product being what it is has presented us, the public, with an opportunity to witness it in an easier way than we have before. So, I’m watching because I can, preparing for the worst because that’s just smart, but also not deleting my account because I kind of like having access to the spectacle, and because everything I’ve learned these last few years about business suggests that this isn’t really anything that new, what’s new is our access to it, and if Twitter does shutter down, it likely won’t be as a direct result of anything that’s happened these last few weeks, but as a cumulative consequence of a company not doing well for so long already anyway, and the decisions they’ve made because of it, including the decisions over the last few weeks. Having said all of that, I guess I did want to say something about it, or maybe I didn’t want to but just did anyway. It doesn’t matter.

    Let Me Add Your Website To My Sidebar

    But, I did add a bunch of people’s websites my blogroll on my website’s sidebar so that I can keep up with people off Twitter if that time comes. If you wanna be mutuals, drop your blog link in the comments and I’ll check it out.

    If internal leadership gets its stuff together and Twitter continues as a service, then great. I’ve got some projects I need to finish that will utilize the service, and I’m sure I’ll continue to post announcements and nonsense on it just as I have been. If it does go away, then I’ll just keep up with people’s personal websites and blogs. I will miss Twitter; it was a great tool for when I was growing the old literary magazine I used to run.

    I have some projects I need to finish for classes, and all of this Twitter stuff has been distracting me from them. And of course I haven’t been able to check Twitter in front of anyone else without them telling me about how I should close my account because it’s dead or because some decision made recently didn’t quite fit into their framework of what is right. Having chosen not to delete my account (yet) doesn’t mean I disagree with any of those frameworks (I am a registered democrat and tend to lean on the liberal side of things), it just means I didn’t reach the same inevitable conclusion as some of my friends have about the service based on the disconnect of leadership’s decision and that specific framework (yet). None of this is meant to be definitive, or meant to serve as a “final thoughts” statement on the subject. I’m watching the shenanigans daily, just like everyone else.

    Anyway, I’m a little behind. So, with that, I think I need to get off of here and finish these projects. I have two class projects, an editing project, and a project that I didn’t have an exact deadline for but I’m sure has passed even though I haven’t been scolded for it yet. Thanks for letting me vent about my thoughts on Twitter. I think I just needed to get it out of me so I could focus on my class projects. Of course, all these thoughts are subject to change daily, or in accordance with something new I learn or find about it.

    I’ll write again soon.


  • My Fall 2022 Semester, and Reasons Why I’ve Been Too Busy To Blog For A Few Months

    My Fall 2022 Semester, and Reasons Why I’ve Been Too Busy To Blog For A Few Months

    Wow, it’s been a whole semester. Well, give or take a few weeks. Sorry about that. The Fall semester in the MFA program started out kind of steady but then it got really intense this last month. I honestly think it was just how my assignment due dates ended up falling on the calendar across my two graduate courses. I’ll take some time here to just do some basic updates, if only because I have a website that I pay for and I might as well use it for something. I will have a little bit of downtime in a few more weeks, so maybe I can post a little more before the Spring semester starts. Maybe the due dates for assignments will just magically work out more convenient for me during the Spring semester. Maybe it will be worse. I don’t know. If it does, I suppose I’ll just have to do this again.

    Fiction

    So, this semester, I decided to do something that I don’t normally do when I study fiction academically–I wrote and workshopped sections of a novel I started. I’ve probably written about this before, but novels are… well, novels are hard. Short stories are hard to, and you can certainly take your sweet time with them if you want to (I’ve been known to rewrite short stories at least ten times, in new documents from start to finish), but it’s also possible to get what you want out of a short story in a few drafts and be done with it. Novels though… I don’t know because I’ve never finished one. I finished a novelette once. It sucked. I still have it somewhere. I wrote it while listening to “I Will Always Love You” (the Dolly Parton version) over and over again for about two weeks.

    Anyway, I still have to do a revision of one of the chapters I wrote this semester, then try to get through the rest of the draft of the novel before too far into Spring because I want to write something else for my thesis, and I think I’m going to have to figure out what that will be super soon if I’m going to stay a full-time student.

    The Firm

    I still work full-time at the law firm. I work in IT, so I’m not a lawyer. I coordinate video conferences, webinars, and support for IT equipment throughout our 13 offices in 8 states. It’s been busy. I think it’s a slower time of year, but there’s still a lot of stuff going on. I can’t talk about work much. You know, confidentiality and all of that. Add me on LinkedIn I guess? But I can’t talk about it there, either.

    The Literary Magazine

    I’m doing some stuff with a literary magazine. I don’t know what I can say or can’t say right now, so I’ll just leave it at that. I do love editing and working with others on literary adventures. I’m sure I’ll be able to talk about it soon. When Likely Red Press shuttered during the pandemic, a little piece of me fell off and died somewhere. It’s probably still at my old apartment.

    Working The Polls In November

    On November 8th, I worked the polls here in Louisville. It wasn’t crazy busy in my opinion, but we’re never sure exactly how many people voted absentee while we’re working at the polling location on election day. Working the polls is an experience, one that I would love to talk about sometime. But, I’ll have to gather my thoughts about it first. I think it’s one of those things that’s easier to talk about if asked questions directly. Feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll do my best.

    Certs

    Even though I’ve been really busy with classes, I had a little time recently to think about something new. Or, maybe I just needed for force myself to add something else to my plate once I got in too much of a circadian rhythm with the flow of coursework. Either way, I am now the holder of a Workplace and Personal Wellness Foundations Certificate from the University of South Florida. I was interested in wellness in the workplace from an administrative angle. It was a unique certificate program. I’m upset that my middle name didn’t get put into the certificate. It was my own fault. I should have double checked before sending off the application. It’s fine. Still waiting for the credly badge.

    Next, I’d like to look into a project management certificate program, then maybe perhaps look into steps for a PMP certification. But, you know, after the MFA. I could do the certificate program whenever though, I guess. Anyone know of any good ones? Post them in the comments if you do.

    My TIkTok

    I think that’s all I’ve managed to squeeze in this season. I didn’t do much for Halloween. I’m still so single that I’m talking about History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund in letters to my straight high school best friend who I had a crush on and who is in prison. I did start posting about how I’ve been closing my Apple Watch rings everyday on TikTok, though. You can follow me on TikTok if you’re into that. I can’t promise how long I’ll keep managing to close the rings, though. It’s getting colder and I don’t like that.

    That’s all for now. I’ll try to post the next one sooner.


  • The MFA Residency

    The MFA Residency

    Blogging is actually kind of hard. I’m tempted to start over every few years. My interests change over time. So do my opinions. I’m not consistent. Sometimes I declare I’m going to do things one way, then I do them another way. Years ago, I wrote a blog post complaining about a boyfriend, or at least that sounds like something I would have done. When I was self-publishing a collection a few years ago, I was blogging about that. While I was getting my MBA, I blogged about that some. Now I’m in an MFA program for creative writing. I don’t know if I want to blog about it or not, but odds are I will, at least some.

    The truth is, I have to stop writing as much for my blog because I have to write other things that I can’t post on it. I have to start saving some of my fiction for some literary journals and things again. Savings my rejection letters. Framing them. That sort of thing. I’m convinced I can come up with a happy balance between writing for my blog and for my literary submissions, but I haven’t exactly figured out a plan yet.

    I could do a few things:

    • Save my blog posts for announcements and stuff. This will likely be only a few year, if even that. I doubt I’ll get any real publication credits while I’m in the MFA program, so there just won’t be many things I’ll need to announce. This option would be more effective later, if I ever do get some vetted publications, perhaps in a few years. (Probably more like 10 years from now.)
    • I could just not talk about my writing at all and start blogging about—I don’t know—urban sketching? I’m really not very good at it. Or, I could do book reviews. I’m not very good at those either. If I finish a book, I liked it. 5 stars. Good job. Let’s go get a coffee.
    • I could try to write some pieces every few months specifically for the blog while I’m also writing for school and for lit journals and things, and try not to go insane. I’d have to be very decisive about what I posted on my blog because once I post certain pieces on my blog, most lit journals won’t take them. (Though there are some journals that do reprints. There are also a few journals that really just don’t care.)
    • I can use my blog to play around with creative nonfiction work, playing around with things like tense, titles, and tension and things like that.
    • I could just stop blogging.

    The right answer is probably somewhere in-between all of these things. I know my posting frequency will continue to be less. Judging from the summer residency, the reading and writing requirements in this program are going to be pretty up there.

    The residency itself was really great. It was a lot of writing and running around for twelve hours straight every day for about two weeks, but the craft lectures were interesting and the workshops were helpful. Everyone seems nice. The issues I had at residency were more personal, one of them being something that caught me a little off guard.

    My mom died two days before the end of the residency. It was an unexpected death. She was in another state. No one really knew why. I had to step away for half a day or so and make a bunch of phone calls, but after that there wasn’t much else that could be done besides wait for the coroner to cremate and ship. The funeral was a dinner with a small group of friends and family. She didn’t have insurance. I distanced myself from her a few years ago. Some version of our issues will probably end up in a side-story of a novel some day. I’ll save it for then.

    The fall semester started Monday, August 15th. I’m still working at the law firm full time. I’ll see what my schedule is like over the next few weeks—I should have some idea about how often I’ll have something to blog about soon. If I had to guess, I’d say I could write something for the blog once a month, or every six weeks, or something like that. Something about a book I’m reading, a funny story that happened to me recently, or a few of those really-really-short stories a year on occasion, too.

    We’ll see.


  • Putting Together My LinkedIn Profile

    Putting Together My LinkedIn Profile

    I don’t know exactly what my area of expertise is, but people often ask me what it is. I suppose I should probably have a good idea of what that is, though. Most people do, I guess? Do you? What is it? For me to find out mine, I’d probably have to look at an organized account of all my past jobs and experiences that I currently find relevant to what I want to be doing. I think there’s something for that. LinkedIn? Well, I have been getting my LinkedIn profile together more recently. Everyone else was, so I figured why not? I can be professionally interesting. I can be Mr. Business. I can network.

    What My LinkedIn Profile Says I Am

    I did some things to my LinkedIn profile since I last brought it up on my blog. I updated my headline with titles that I consider myself to have. Those things include “author” because I self-published a book a few years ago. I’ve also thrown in “creative professional” because I’m in a creative writing program and also blog and do other creative things. And finally, I added “coordinator”, because that’s my day job.

    If nothing else, I hope these things help with people who are searching for authors and coordinators to network with. I don’t know if anyone is searching for creative professional – I thought about putting “writer” in my headline but I already have author in there, so I’m not sure writer would be that helpful. Maybe I should add it in, though.

    Prior to having these things in my headline, my headline just read as whatever my job title was, which was a weird job title that people would never search for on LinkedIn.

    My LinkedIn Experience and Skills

    My experience section has been kind of okay since I had to build up my LinkedIn profile for one my classes in the MBA program. However, I knew that I needed to overhaul my skills section. I was listing skills that I really needed to have for my current roles, but hadn’t really fully developed into skills.

    What I did to solve this problem was use a newer feature of LinkedIn – I added some context to my skills by telling LinkedIn which experiences and activities my skills were applied to. You just open up the skills and check boxes. If I couldn’t find an experience that I still had on my profile for that skill, I deleted the skill.

    I was able to apply the work I did as founder of a student organization to leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills, for example. The literary magazine I used to edit? Marketing. Publishing. Editing.

    My day job? Administration. Communication. Organization skills. Mentoring. Technical support. Diversity and inclusion.

    What was once an attempt to show management skills that I wished were fully developed is now an attempt at showing what has developed, including some mentoring and teaching skills.

    Now, my LinkedIn experience and skills are much more connected and understandable to me. I now have a fairly decent idea of what I’m good at and what experiences helped shape my expertise.

    So what is my expertise? Well, I said that I figured out what my relevant skills were and what experiences they applied to. I haven’t said that I know exactly what my area of expertise is yet. It’s like an abstract painting. It’s not just the viewer that has to think about it; the artist does to.

    Now that my profile is built up and my skills and experience make sense to me, I’m looking at the abstract painting.

    What Does My Experience Say About Me?

    Let’s see.

    I love writing, and am pretty good at writing fiction. At least, I think I am. I tell people when I go to creative writing events that my concentration is fiction. I’m in an MFA program, so I could say creative writing is my main gig. However, I haven’t exactly mastered any of it and probably won’t for a long time.

    I have experience as a literary editor. I founded and edited a small press for a few years. But, I wouldn’t say it was the MOST successful thing I’ve ever done because I definitely made mistakes, otherwise it would probably still be running. I could say I know what I would do differently next time.

    I have an MBA. In the program, I studied management and leadership pretty extensively, plus got enough exposure to communication, marketing, finance, and data analysis to be able to manage if needed. I don’t think I’m very close at all to being an expert in those specific subjects: communication, marketing, finance, or data analysis – but I can tell you how they fit into the structure of an organization as a whole and I could oversee them if I was in a position to do so. I could teach a class on leadership theory or some aspect of management.

    My current day job is a coordinator. Technically, I work in an IT department. My position is a little weird though because I get to sort of come into contact with all levels of organization and work with many different departments. I can really “see” my MBA sometimes.

    Like, “Oh, that’s what Human Resources does?” Or, “Wow, that’s how marketing is embedded into the strategic plan of the organization.”

    So, my expertise?

    I imagine that my expertise is somewhere along the lines of business administration and creative writing. Maybe administering a creative writing program or something? But, as you may know, I don’t work in administration in a creative writing department. I work at a private firm. So, I don’t know. I coordinate stuff I guess.

    What’s your area of expertise? Have you done a LinkedIn profile overhaul recently?

    You can comment below, and add me on LinkedIn if you want. I’m trying to post more on the platform. Maybe I’ll share this blog post. I don’t typically share my blog on there, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder why I don’t.


  • I’m Trying Out A Traveler’s Notebook

    I’m Trying Out A Traveler’s Notebook

    I’ve blogged a little bit about how I’ve not been very good at writing in notebooks in the past – I don’t really keep up with notebooks very well and tend to start most of my creative writing in the digital format. Sometimes, if I really want to play with a piece of fiction, I’ll do that in a notebook, but that notebook tends to only be dedicated to that project, and I don’t always even finish the notebook. I wanted to try to get better at writing in notebooks recently, so I bought myself sometime nice. It’s a Traveler’s Notebook from the Traveler’s Company.

    I’ve had it for about 4 days so far. I’ve been “journaling”, so not really writing any fiction (novels or short stories). Instead, I’ve been reflecting about my day, sometimes multiple times a day, reflecting on the things I’ve done that morning, what new things arrived in the mail for me that day, or the TV shows I watched that evening. It’s a very casual journal, but I also give all the reflections/journal entries titles so that it feels a little more official, like a creative nonfiction piece I’m working on or something.

    I think that it’s good for me, but I guess it’s really too soon to tell for sure. I definitely like the shape of the journal; it’s an interesting size and it’s actually a good fit for me. I got the regular size – it’s sort of like an A5, only a little skinnier. There is also a passport size, but I don’t have that one (yet). I think the regular size works for now. It’s enough space to write whatever I want. The leather cover has already started taking on a character of its own with little blemishes and scratches. Supposedly the leather ages beautifully over time, so I’m excited to see how my cover looks in a few months.

    I love the paper that it comes with – the blank Midori MD paper inserts. The inserts are 64 pages. I’m wondering how quickly I will fill it up. The refills aren’t too expensive, $5-$7 dollars depending on where you buy them. There are also a lot of different types of inserts and paper that Traveler’s Company makes for it, and I imagine there’s a lot of other brands that will work for it, too. If I fill these pages up quickly, maybe I’ll feel that sense of reward that I rarely ever feel since it takes me so long to fill up my other notebooks.

    I guess I’ll keep you in the loop on how using this notebook is going. There are a few accessories I want to get for it soon, including a pen loop and a pocket/folder/place to put loose scraps and things. There are some official things that Traveler’s Company makes that will work that I’ll probably end up getting.

    PLEASE let me know in the comments if you like a certain kind of notebook, or if you have any journaling advice or anything.


  • My Writing This Week – Incorporating Writing Back Into My Daily Life

    My Writing This Week – Incorporating Writing Back Into My Daily Life

    Holly crap, you guys! I have been busy and I haven’t posted any blog posts this week. I’ve actually been working on a few “more useful” blog posts, but I didn’t get them finished this week. I’ve also been using my time to write more throughout the week, because I know when I start the MFA Program this summer, I’m going to have to kick that into gear. One of the advantages of a low-residency MFA was pointed out to me this week – I’ll be learning how to incorporate writing into my daily life at home better.

    I’ve been taking it really slow, writing about five new pages a week for the last two weeks. That’s more than I usually do, which the last few years has been a page or two a week, maybe. But, that’s NEW pages. If you know me, you know that I tend to spend a lot of time rewriting, and that’s where I think the majority of my writing time goes. Not sure anymore if that’s good or bad. There’s a story I’ve been rewriting since December and I’m thinking about doing one more rewrite of it and then sending it off into a particular contest, but I only have another week or so before that deadline.

    I don’t want to stress myself out before I even start the MFA program, so I’m trying not to do too much. I’ve been attending more literary readings lately, mostly virtual. I even attended an open-mic night recently. I didn’t read. I just listened, battled my cat over Zoom, and tried to be present. I also became a member of my local literary arts organization, and have been attending readings and virtual events that they’ve hosted as well.

    Anyway, I hope you’ve all had a good week. Let me know how it was in the comments. I’ll try to post more next week.


  • I’m Reading Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump

    I’m Reading Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump

    This week, I used an Audible credit and got the audiobook of Everywhere You Don’t Belong by Gabriel Bump. So, once again, I’m being read to this week as I go throughout my day. I’m almost half finished with it. This might be one that I also buy the print copy of, because there are some sections that I’d like to hone in on the language of. There is some repetition going on, and I’d also like to check out the dialogue a little more closely. I like it so far. As you know, I don’t really do book reviews, because that’s pretty much what they would honestly say. “I like it so far.” I might need to look into getting better at book reviews some day. I’ll have plenty of chances here soon, I suppose.

    After getting accepted into the MFA program, I got myself set up and registered for my summer classes. While I’m super excited to start the MFA in the summer, I’m also super excited to have a reason to go back to Richmond, Kentucky and have Apollo’s Pizza here soon. I haven’t had it in probably seven or eight years. I’ve also been looking into transportation options, Greyhound bus tickets, the average costs of Uber near campus, and things like that. I think it’s going to be alright. It’s not too expensive. It is a little annoying that there’s not some sort of bus that travels from Lexington, Kentucky to Richmond, Kentucky. I think there’s a night of the residency where I’ll have to either ask a classmate for a ride up to a literary reading Lexington, or pay $50-$80 bucks to get up there in an Uber from Richmond and back. I did so much thinking and planning about this over the last few days that I didn’t even write any short fiction for the blog this week.

    My Weekly Short Fiction Experiment On My Blog

    I have been posting short stories on Fridays on my blog for the a month and a half or so. This week, in addition to planning for my summer, I also wrote some on a project that I started recently – the project I started in my little red Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. I like where it’s going so far, but we’ll see if I can keep up momentum. But, that means I didn’t get to working on any short stories for the blog.

    I think that the main reason I wanted to post short stories on Fridays was to give myself practice with letting things go a little bit. I tend to over-edit my short stories. I’ll rewrite things 10 or more times sometimes. I don’t know for sure, but I think that’s more than most other writers I know. It’s partly because I like the process, which is a good reason. It’s also partly because of imposter syndrome or something like that, probably. So, I had to figure out a way to not get too stuck on the same stories for half a decade, especially when it keeps me from working on new things.

    I think I accomplished my goal. I like some of the stories I posted, quite a lot, actually. And, some of them are just okay, and that’s okay. I’ve proved to myself that I can let the draft be. I probably won’t post short stories every Friday now. I’m sure I’ll have stuff every now and then, though.

    Anyway, I’ll need some more stuff to read after this audiobook is finished, so let me know what you’re reading.


Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA Summer Residency, 2022. Photo by Ben Keeling.

I’m Eric Shay Howard and I’m a bad blogger. I’m also an author. I live in Louisville, Kentucky and work at a law firm.

I’m currently a graduate student in a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Lately, I’ve been blogging about that. I also have a Master of Business Administration and have completed a few certificate programs in Human Resource related studies. Occasionally I blog about business and other MBA-related things. Blogging about my day, bad dates, or package delivery issues are also not out of the question.


I wrote a fiction collection called Crushes and self-published it because sometimes I just like to push buttons and see what happens. I think this book is pretty alright. It’s no In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, or Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino or anything, though. But buying a copy helps me out. Feel free to leave a review on Amazon as well.

crushes by eric shay howard fiction collection book cover

I’m an Amazon Affiliate and occasionally post affiliate links to products in my blog posts and throughout my website. I always disclose these links, just so there’s no confusion. There’s more information about this on my page about my privacy policies and disclosures.

If there’s ever any confusion about this feel free to drop me a comment below the post in question, or you can email me or reach out to me through my social media. Other contact methods are here.


Eric’s bookshelf: currently-reading

The Silkworm
tagged: currently-reading
Words of Radiance
tagged: currently-reading
The Cloven Viscount
tagged: currently-reading
Dark Rise
tagged: currently-reading
The Gunslinger
tagged: currently-reading
It
It
tagged: currently-reading
Mistborn: The Final Empire
tagged: currently-reading

goodreads.com

My Curriculum Vitae

You can view my full CV here, and bits and pieces of it are on my About page. A short summary of my educational and professional accomplishments are below.

Awards

Bluegrass Writers Studio Emerging Writer Award Finalist, 2022

Western Governors University Capstone Excellence Award, 2022

University of Louisville Creative Writing Scholarship Award, 2015

Education

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, Bluegrass Writers Studio, Eastern Kentucky University, 2024 (anticipated graduation date)

Master of Business Administration, Western Governors University, 2022

Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Louisville, 2017

Certificates

Designated Project Manager (Project Management for the Non-Project Manager) Certificate, University of South Florida, 2023 (anticipated certificate program completion date)

Workplace and Personal Wellness Foundations Certificate, University of South Florida, 2022

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate, University of South Florida, 2021

Credly Badges

Blogs and People I Like

Here are some other blogs and people that I like to read or keep up with. The order is arbitrary because I started out going for alphabetical order but then got busy with classes or something so now sometimes I just rearrange them for no reason.


Equipment Test! Podcast Artwork

I made a really bad podcast over the summer called Equipment Test! because I bought a microphone. But if you like really bad podcasts, you can listen to it here, or find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other places.